I. Course Design Principles > B. Course Content

I.B.4. The content and activities convey high expectations to the students.

Values Supported



Your expectations should always be explicit to the students, as stated in the learning objectives and the alignment of the learning activities to the objectives. Your expectations should also challenge students, so that they are required to develop new understanding and new skills.

Communicating expectations to learners makes the intentions behind the course design clearer to them (Transparency), and should present to them the underlying progression of knowledge and skills required at advancing levels (Alignment).


Course expectations should require students to work at a level suitable to undergraduate or graduate coursework in a competitive private university, and suitable to their development as learners. Distance or hybrid courses must not sacrifice academic rigor, regardless of the prior preparation of the students enrolled in the class.


“Communicating high expectations” is an important principle for good undergraduate teaching, as discussed by Chickering and Gamson: